22 Weekend Vacation Destinations Within Driving Distance of Cincinnati

Whether you're looking for some time with mother nature, seeking busy city nights with live music, you're a roller coaster enthusiast or you want to focus your trip on bourbon tasting and history, there are plenty of exciting destinations to choose from — all within 5 hours of Cincinnati.

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Mammoth Cave National Park
1 Mammoth Cave Parkway Mammoth Cave, Ky.
Distance: 3 hours
Mammoth Cave, the largest cave system known in the world (400+ miles to be exact), is just a 3-hour drive south of Cincinnati. The park offers tours of the caves, hikes, canoeing on the Green River, horseback riding, camping and much more. 
Photo via Facebook.com/MammothCaveNPS

Mammoth Cave National Park

1 Mammoth Cave Parkway Mammoth Cave, Ky.
Distance: 3 hours
Mammoth Cave, the largest cave system known in the world (400+ miles to be exact), is just a 3-hour drive south of Cincinnati. The park offers tours of the caves, hikes, canoeing on the Green River, horseback riding, camping and much more.
Photo via Facebook.com/MammothCaveNPS
Red River Gorge
Robbie Ridge Road, Stanton, Ky.
Distance: 2 hours and 15 minutes
In east-central Kentucky, you'll find the Red River Gorge, where the land is rich with sandstone cliffs, waterfalls, natural bridges and trails that draw in hundreds of hikers and campers every year. The large amount of sandstone has made “the Red” one of the most popular rock climbing destinations in the world. You also can’t forget to stop by Miguel’s Pizza on Natural Bridge Road while you’re there — a Red River Gorge tradition.
Photo via Facebook.com/OfficialRedRiverGorge

Red River Gorge

Robbie Ridge Road, Stanton, Ky.
Distance: 2 hours and 15 minutes
In east-central Kentucky, you'll find the Red River Gorge, where the land is rich with sandstone cliffs, waterfalls, natural bridges and trails that draw in hundreds of hikers and campers every year. The large amount of sandstone has made “the Red” one of the most popular rock climbing destinations in the world. You also can’t forget to stop by Miguel’s Pizza on Natural Bridge Road while you’re there — a Red River Gorge tradition.
Photo via Facebook.com/OfficialRedRiverGorge
Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park & Museum
1763 Hamilton Cleves Road, Hamilton
Distance: 45 minutes
This sculpture park sits on over 300 acres and features more than 60 outdoor sculptures which can be seen throughout the many hiking trails, lakes, trees, hills and meadows.
Photo via Facebook.com/PyramidHillSculpturePark

Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park & Museum

1763 Hamilton Cleves Road, Hamilton
Distance: 45 minutes
This sculpture park sits on over 300 acres and features more than 60 outdoor sculptures which can be seen throughout the many hiking trails, lakes, trees, hills and meadows.
Photo via Facebook.com/PyramidHillSculpturePark
Rabbit Hash, Kentucky
10021 Lower River Road, Burlington, Ky.
Distance: 45 minutes
A scenic, 45 minute drive southwest takes you to Rabbit Hash, known for its historic general store and electing dogs as its mayor. Rabbit Hash General Store was known as “the best known and best preserved country store in Kentucky”, until it was destroyed by a fire in 2016, later to be restored and reopened in April 2017.  
Photo via Hailey Bollinger

Rabbit Hash, Kentucky

10021 Lower River Road, Burlington, Ky.
Distance: 45 minutes
A scenic, 45 minute drive southwest takes you to Rabbit Hash, known for its historic general store and electing dogs as its mayor. Rabbit Hash General Store was known as “the best known and best preserved country store in Kentucky”, until it was destroyed by a fire in 2016, later to be restored and reopened in April 2017.
Photo via Hailey Bollinger
Bass Islands
Distance: 3 hours and 45 minutes + ferry ride to island
Just north of Sandusky, Ohio, you’ll find North Bass Island, Middle Bass Island, and South Bass Island, surrounded by the beautiful water of Lake Erie. The Bass Islands are small in size, but there’s more than enough to do with state parks, boating, water sports, eating and shopping. North Bass Island, however, is only open for camping. Put-In-Bay, located on South Bass Island, is considered “The Key West of the North” and has a great nightlife scene and many places with live entertainment. To get there, you’ll have to take a ferry, boat or plane, but these little islands are worth the trip.
Photo via Facebook.com/PutInBayOhio

Bass Islands

Distance: 3 hours and 45 minutes + ferry ride to island
Just north of Sandusky, Ohio, you’ll find North Bass Island, Middle Bass Island, and South Bass Island, surrounded by the beautiful water of Lake Erie. The Bass Islands are small in size, but there’s more than enough to do with state parks, boating, water sports, eating and shopping. North Bass Island, however, is only open for camping. Put-In-Bay, located on South Bass Island, is considered “The Key West of the North” and has a great nightlife scene and many places with live entertainment. To get there, you’ll have to take a ferry, boat or plane, but these little islands are worth the trip.
Photo via Facebook.com/PutInBayOhio
African Safari Wildlife Park
267 S Lightner Road, Port Clinton, Ohio
Distance: 3 hours and 45 minutes
Transport to another world at the African Safari Wildlife Park, where you have access to wild animals like you never have before — from your car. While you’re here, you can drive around the conservation area to view and even feed some of your favorite animals in a more natural habitat and not in cages. 
Photo via Facebook.com/AfricanSafariWildlifePark

African Safari Wildlife Park

267 S Lightner Road, Port Clinton, Ohio
Distance: 3 hours and 45 minutes
Transport to another world at the African Safari Wildlife Park, where you have access to wild animals like you never have before — from your car. While you’re here, you can drive around the conservation area to view and even feed some of your favorite animals in a more natural habitat and not in cages.
Photo via Facebook.com/AfricanSafariWildlifePark
Hocking Hills State Park
19852 OH-664, Logan, Ohio
Distance: 2 hours and 30 minutes
Hocking Hills State Park has five different sections within the 9,000+ acres of land to explore. Millions of guests embrace the forest year-round by hiking, rock climbing, canoeing and camping on one of the 200 campsites in the area. A must-see is Ash Cave, an out-of-this-world rock formation that just so happens to be the biggest recess cave in the state.
Photo via Facebook.com/HockingHillsStatePark

Hocking Hills State Park

19852 OH-664, Logan, Ohio
Distance: 2 hours and 30 minutes
Hocking Hills State Park has five different sections within the 9,000+ acres of land to explore. Millions of guests embrace the forest year-round by hiking, rock climbing, canoeing and camping on one of the 200 campsites in the area. A must-see is Ash Cave, an out-of-this-world rock formation that just so happens to be the biggest recess cave in the state.
Photo via Facebook.com/HockingHillsStatePark
Louisville, Kentucky
Distance: 1 hour and 35 minutes
Louisville is Kentucky’s most populated city with an endless amount of things to do year-round. Visit the historic Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory where they have been making the famous Louisville Slugger bats since 1884. Bask in historic architecture in the Historic Old Louisville neighborhood, the nation’s largest group of Victorian mansions. Or, if you’re visiting during the first week of May, you have to experience “The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports” at the world famous Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Derby Festival. 
Photo via Facebook.com/KentuckyDerby

Louisville, Kentucky

Distance: 1 hour and 35 minutes
Louisville is Kentucky’s most populated city with an endless amount of things to do year-round. Visit the historic Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory where they have been making the famous Louisville Slugger bats since 1884. Bask in historic architecture in the Historic Old Louisville neighborhood, the nation’s largest group of Victorian mansions. Or, if you’re visiting during the first week of May, you have to experience “The Most Exciting Two Minutes In Sports” at the world famous Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Derby Festival.
Photo via Facebook.com/KentuckyDerby
Columbus, Ohio
Distance: 2 hours
Columbus, Ohio’s state capital and home of The Ohio State University, is a great weekend getaway spot. There’s a great collection of outdoor parks — some popular ones include Scioto Audubon Metro Park, Franklin Park and Goodale Park. For educational attractions, check out the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium or COSI (Center for Science and Industry), an award-winning science center with more than 300 interactive exhibits. 
Photo via Facebook.com/ExperienceColumbus

Columbus, Ohio

Distance: 2 hours
Columbus, Ohio’s state capital and home of The Ohio State University, is a great weekend getaway spot. There’s a great collection of outdoor parks — some popular ones include Scioto Audubon Metro Park, Franklin Park and Goodale Park. For educational attractions, check out the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium or COSI (Center for Science and Industry), an award-winning science center with more than 300 interactive exhibits.
Photo via Facebook.com/ExperienceColumbus
Lake Cumberland
Distance: 3 hours and 30 minutes
Lake Cumberland is another tourist favorite in southern Kentucky. This huge reservoir is the place to be on a warm, sunny day for boating, fishing, jet skiing or just cooling off in the water. You can stay in a houseboat, cabin, hotel or camp.  
Photo via Facebook.com/LakeCumberlandKY

Lake Cumberland

Distance: 3 hours and 30 minutes
Lake Cumberland is another tourist favorite in southern Kentucky. This huge reservoir is the place to be on a warm, sunny day for boating, fishing, jet skiing or just cooling off in the water. You can stay in a houseboat, cabin, hotel or camp.
Photo via Facebook.com/LakeCumberlandKY